This post has been updated. See below for details.
When Steven Bernstein's Sexmob last rolled through town, the Iraq war hadn't started and the Knitting Factory was one of the most promising rooms in Hollywood.
Times, to say the least, have changed, but Sexmob endures on the back of Bernstein's recognizable slide trumpet and reliably rollicking aesthetic. For years, the group has been one of the can't-miss party bands of the downtown New York City jazz scene.
The band comes to the Mint tonight in advance of the release of the forthcoming "Cinema, Circus and Spaghetti (Sexmob Plays Fellini: The Music of Nino Rota)." The dip into film music isn't the first for the group, which also features seasoned veterans Briggan Krauss, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen, who have been heard on a variety of jazz recordings by Bill Frisell, Jenny Scheinman and John Zorn. Bernstein has been just as active in memorable recordings with Levon Helm, his own Millennial Territory Orchestra and the New Orleans-exploring project Wicked Knee.
The record is far from the first time that Sexmob has paid tribute to other composers. The band's previous release, 2007's "Sexotica," earned a Grammy nomination for its warped takes on Martin Denny, and in 2001, "Sex Mob Does Bond" put the group's tightly wound mania into songs inspired by the music of John Barry.
"Jazz used to be popular music," Bernstein said in an oft-repeated quote that to this day sums up the group's aesthetic, which you can explore further in a live video from 2007 below. "People would go out to clubs, listen to the music, dance, drink, have a hell of a lot of fun, and then go home and get laid. Simple as that. We're bringing that spirit back."
Sexmob at the Mint, 6010 W. Pico Blvd., L.A. 10 p.m. Tuesday. $10. www.themintla.com.
Updated, 5:05 p.m. Two years ago bandleader Steven Bernstein changed the spelling of the group's name to Sexmob.